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Chesnutt in the Classroom

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Frisk's First Rat

Frisk was Rosy's kitten. One day when she was coming home from school, she saw a boy at the creek, tying a string round a little kitten's neck.

"Boy, what are you going to do with that kitten?" said she.

"Drown," was the laconic response.

"O, don't," said Rosy. "Please give him to me."

"What'll you gi'me?" said the boy who had an eye to trade.

"Oh dear," said Rosy, "I haven't got any money."

"Gi'me that apple you got?"

"Oh, yes," said she.

The bargain was made, and Rosy hurried home with her new acquisition, which, after being displayed to the whole household, was put to bed in an old basket and became a household institution.

Frisk, for so he was named, in a few months had vastly increased in size and had explored the cellar, closets, house, and garden; had caught several mice but had not yet arrived at the height of his ambition--this was to catch a rat. He had heard of them from Tom, the big cat over the way, but had never met with one. There were no rats in the cellar, but there was an old garret in the house Frisk had not explored, because he could not get in it.

But he watched his chance, and one evening when Patsy, the maid, went up to the garret to deposit some plunder, of which it was a time honored receptacle, he slipped in and hid 'til she went out.

There was an old corn bin in one corner, which had still a few grains of corn in it, and near it Frisk stationed himself, as he had had some experience in the mouse line.

In a little while, a large rat emerged from a hole in the wall nearby and came toward the bin. This was a trying moment to Frisk. His emotions were indescribable, his breast heaved, his back rose, his tail moved slowly from side to side; his eyes flashed fire, and in his bosom burned a desire to distinguish himself. He gave a spring and seized him. There ensued a terrific struggle, the like of which was never heard of in feline tradition. Over old crockery, among the old tinware, in old baskets, and over a good portion of the garret they rolled. The racket brought Patsy, Rosy, and Mamma from below just as Frisk had achieved a glorious victory. Sitting by the body of his fallen foe, with one bloody paw on his neck, he eyed him with the greatest satisfaction and was highly applauded by Rosy and Patsy.

When he had eaten enough rat, he was carried in triumph downstairs, the blood was washed off him by Patsy, and he was installed in state on the sitting room rug for the rest of the evening.

And now my young friend, don't you think that Frisk was a pretty smart kitten?